From Fact into Fiction

In 2005 I wrote a short history of the Anglican Church here in East Dalhousie for our 100th Anniversary celebration. Little did I know, at the time, I’d be using that very same history when it came time to write a book. Once I realized that Bitter, Sweet would be set in East Dalhousie, I simply couldn’t resist.

So if you have read the book and was wondering, the original frame for the church really did blow down in a windstorm, and was then torn down by a bunch of drunken lumbermen. (Gosh, I love that part. So colourful, don’t you think?)

To show how determined the folks in Dalhousie were, and how passionately they felt about erecting this church, it took them nearly forty years to complete, with some major setbacks. I’m not altogether sure you’d see that determination today but maybe the folks back then were used to working hard and staying true to what they believed in.

Today I was thinking about how we often encounter setbacks in life. We set our goals, stay determined and yet everything does not always unfold in a timely manner. Sometimes I wonder if perhaps the journey is more important than the actually goals we set.

When I think about St. Cyprian’s I don’t just see a white building. It is so much more than that. It is the people who worked hand in hand to complete the church, all of those who came before me and those who will come after. History is like that. It tells us who we are and where we came from. It helps us to decide what is important in life, not by keeping us stuck in the past, but by giving us a sense of belonging.

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  1. “Sometimes I wonder if perhaps the journey is more important than the actually goals we set.”

    I wonder that too. Sometimes we change paths in life and don’t reach the original goals we set but instead achieve something that is perhaps better for us.
    It’s nice to achieve your goals but it is the memories of the journey you took to get there, the places and the people you discovered, that you look back on fondly.

    • Hi Helen. This is all so true. The journey is seldom what we imagined because there are so many bends in the road. I guess it’s a good thing for it makes life so much more interesting.

  2. I always think bits of local history add authenticity to a novel and it’s wonderful your research worked so well into your story. Your comment about history helping to establish our sense of identity is astute, too. I love discovering “roots”!

    And yes, I’d say the journey is always more important than the destination. Having goals puts a purpose into our efforts but in this publishing business the goals can be hard to reach, so if we don’t love the journey we could end up very frustrated.

    • You’re so right Carol. This journey into the publishing business can be totally frustrating on so many different levels. Even once that goal is reached we sometimes look for more and there are no guarantees. And still we keep going..Something inside us keeps urging us on.

  3. Cottentail Bunna

     /  March 4, 2010

    Very Nicely, Said! ……..To this day, I can still see my God Father, Charlie, stoking the furnance…oh, Good Old Memories…..:))))

    • They still heat the church with wood, Glenna ,if you can imagine that, although now there’s a airtight at the back of the church. Nobody wanted to give up the wood heat. Old habits die hard.

  4. Dianne Silver

     /  March 6, 2010

    Charlie was my god father too.And I think my siblings. According to my mother he gave us each a silver dollar as a christening gift. And Laura I have to get some more history from you. We tend to forget but thanks to folks like you our community history stays alive

    • Thanks for visiting my blog Dianne and for leaving a comment. I’m sure if we were to ask around we’d find that Charlie was a God Father for many of us. It’s really difficult to think about St, Cyprian’s without remembering both Charlie and Pearl, isn’t it?

      I’m not sure about you but the history seems to become more important as I age. I also think that once we start loosing loved one it also seems to spark something within us. I know that is certainly the case with me.

  5. “… about erecting this church, it took them nearly forty years to complete, with some major setbacks.”

    Not weighing in on the setback/publishing angle but let me tellya why it took 40 years to rebuild that church:

    LOOK AT THE PITCH OF THAT ROOF! Probably couldn’t get anyone nuts enough to shingle that thing! Good Lord (in keeping with the church theme) I’ll bet those boys were droppin’ like flies.

    Nice post – Sorry, just felt like bein’ silly.

    • You must know by now, Dave, that I look forward to that silliness of yours. I don’t mind silly at all. In fact, I welcome silly.

      I would never have guessed the real reason that it took so long to complete. I really should have had your input when I wrote that history. It would have been so much MORE colourful, I think….. Oh well.

  6. chezjlb

     /  March 7, 2010

    I wonder what stories the church cemetery can tell? It may sound morbid, but I love visiting old cemeteries. It may sound a little weird, but visit with respect and I think the stones and ground can talk to you. Somehow they want to add to your journey.

    • It really doesn’t sound morbid at all. I’m very familiar with our cemetery. I have family members buried there, friends and neighbours. And you’re right, the stones do tell stories.


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